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Bomb Accidents–An Israeli Plot?

2 minute read
Josh Tyrangiel

It was just last summer that Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were huddling over a peace accord at Camp David. A year is an eternity in the Middle East. In the wake of last week’s suicide bombing of a Jerusalem pizza parlor, the atmosphere of mistrust between Israel and Palestine is so toxic that Palestinian security officials accuse Israel of covertly distributing two tons of defective explosives in the West Bank, leading to the death of 25 bombmakers and causing injury to 100 others in 60 separate “work accidents” during the intifadeh. Israeli officials deny any plot, saying demand for explosives is so high that West Bank terrorists are being killed by their own TATP, a cheap, improvised high explosive that can detonate accidentally, even if dropped on the floor. Meanwhile, Palestinian sources say, Arafat is trying to avoid any further violence in the region–though for his own political reasons, not from any fresh resolve for peace. Each terror incident gives more strength to the Islamists of Jihad and Hamas, undermining Arafat’s tenuous authority. Diplomatic sources tell TIME that the groups’ growing strength has spurred Egypt to try to initiate secret contacts between the U.S. and Hamas but that Hamas rejected the overture.

–Reported by Matt Rees, Jamil Hamad and Aharon Klein/Jerusalem

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